Germany succeeded Spain as world basketball champion and retained the crown in a European head. The team led by Gordie Herbert, a 64-year-old Canadian coach, beat Serbia 83-77 in the final held in Manila, reaching the top for the first time in a World Cup and reinforcing continental power against the United States, who could not even be content with the bronze when losing against Canada by 118-127. The last two world champions are European, as is the coach of the third classified, the Catalan Jordi Fernández. Germany, bronze in the last Eurobasket and undefeated this summer, touched the sky with 28 points from Schröder, the point guard who replaced Ricky Rubio as the MVP of the tournament. He was accompanied in the ideal five by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Anthony Edwards (USA), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) and Luka Doncic (Slovenia). Great triumph also for Serbia, which without stars like Nikola Jokic and Micic bit into a silver that is also worth the direct ticket to the Olympic Games. Svetislav Pesic returned to put together at the age of 74 a block of great competitive fierceness led by Avramovic and Bogdanovic.
Serbia had savored the first advantages, sharpened with the wrist of Marinkovic and Nikola Jovic, while Schröder took the wheel to move an orchestra of good soloists. Pesic’s team exhibited repertoire inside and out, always threatening from the perimeter, and made the first quarter their own (23-26) despite Dobric’s injury. The appointment was a final lady, with the two teams sharing a lot of the ball, sparkling three-pointers, a high score and the stars claiming their moment of glory. The omnipresent Schröder, who directs as well as executes, was escorted by Franz Wagner and the duo was answered by the awakening of Bogdan Bogdanovic and the brave penetrations of Serbia towards the German ring. The two groups pressed hard in defense and attack and the match moved into melee and very small incomes. The tie at 47 at the break was the best reflection of a final worthy of a World Cup. Leaving the United States and Canada on the road was already talking about two steel combines.
The technicians tightened the defense pins as the road to gold. In five minutes of the third quarter, just an 8-6 run favorable to Germany, far from that offensive joy of the first leg of the match. Each possession was an agonizing exercise for the one attacking and for the one defending. It was difficult to weave each pass and in each rebound there was a train wreck. The German team then poked a head above (62-53) because they ran at will, they were supportive in the pass and Schröder did not give up a second. Serbia had a hard time connecting to Bogdanovic, they couldn’t find any openings to bite in attack and began to enter that spiral of protests to the referees. Even the resource of triples did not work for Pesic’s group and they also missed free throws. A 9-0 gave the Germans command of the match and a 22-10 run seemed to tip the balance.
Serbia needed easy baskets, to burn the sole of the shoe again. She thus scratched a few points, but was still at the mercy of Germany, which let the prey escape alive when she could deliver the final blow. A triple by Avramovic opened the game again (73-69). Despite everything, the ball was still in the hands of Schröder, an iceberg due to his ability to manage the pace of the game. The German point guard, however, missed his shot and once again Avramovic led Serbia in the final comeback attempt (78-75 with 1m 21s to go). Schröder risked his destiny in one against one and thus cemented the gold of Germany.
The European party closed a World Cup that once again left the United States out of the top spot. “We are no longer in 1992,” summarized coach Steve Kerr in reference to the overwhelming Dream Team of the Barcelona Games. It is true that the great figures of the NBA resigned from participating this summer, but also that the Warriors coach enlisted a group of 12 top-level players such as Austin Reaves and Anthony Edwards, even though they were rookies in a great selection event. The fourth place with which the United States returns home, together with the seventh place in China 2019, represents the worst parenthesis of World Cup results since the Americans stopped competing with university kids.
They return from this championship with three defeats in their backpack, against Lithuania, Germany and Canada, two against European teams and one last against their neighbor to the north. The Canadian team tied its first medal in a World Cup in a duel with an NBA score and after overcoming an extension after the tie at 111 with a miraculous three-pointer from the American Mikal Bridges. Dillon Brooks (39 points, four rebounds and five assists) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31, six and 12) shone again and the Spanish coach Jordi Fernández took another big step forward in his career, which at 40 years old already shines with the position of first assistant in Sacramento Kings and now with this bronze. Another European at the top.
GERMANY, 83; SERBIA, 77
Alemania: Schröder (28), Obst (7), Franz Wagner (19), Theis (2) and Voigtmann (12) -quinteto inicial-; Bonga (7), Giffey (0), Lo (0), Thiemann (0) and M. Wagner (8).
Serbia: Bogdanovic (17), Dobric (0), Nikola Jovic (9), S.Jovic (2) y Milutinov (2) -quinteto inicial-; Avramovic (21), Davidovac (2), Guduric (4), Marinkovic (9) y Petrusev (10).
Partials: 23-26, 24-21, 22-10 and 14-20.
Referees: Roberto Vázquez (Pur), Omar Bermúdez (Mex) and Gatis Salins (Let).
Mall of Asia Pavilion, Manila, Philippines.
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